Simple ceremony held in Mission following Friday’s deadly crash



Andy Clark/REUTERS


A couple kneel at the spot where six people were killed in Abbotsford. They had been taking part in an Indian pre-wedding procession late at night along the road when they were hit by a pickup truck. The grieving family went ahead with the ceremony yesterday, but cancelled the reception.

Mourning the loss of loved ones, family and friends gathered in Mission yesterday for a subdued wedding ceremony, less than two days after a pickup truck crashed into a crowd of revellers, killing six and injuring 17.

“It was a very sombre wedding,” said Buhpinder Malhi, outside the Mission Sikh Temple. “What happened is beyond any dimension, but the family felt that life has to go on.”

Malhi said a couple hundred people attended the ceremony, far less than the 500 or more who would have attended under different circumstances.

On Friday at around 11:15 p.m. at least 25 people were struck by a pickup when it crashed into a group of celebrants taking part in a traditional Indian pre-wedding procession. The truck was headed southbound and struck the victims from behind.

Six people were killed — three men and three women — and 17 were injured.

The dead ranged from teenagers to people in their 50s.

A small makeshift memorial marks the site of the accident, along a straight, unlit road in an area surrounded by blueberry farms.

The B.C. Ambulance Service dispatched 12 ambulances and two medevac helicopters to the accident, which occurred in the 1700 Block of Lefeuvre Road, near the bride’s family’s house in rural Abbotsford.

Nine people remained in hospital yesterday.

The driver of the pickup, a 71-year-old man, was questioned and released without charges. Drugs and alcohol are not factors in the crash, Abbotsford police said.

Abbotsford Sgt. Amar Kingra told News 1130 yesterday that the investigation is still in its preliminary stages and that it could be a while before they determine if charges will be laid.

Hardyal Grewal, who travelled from California to attend the wedding, described the ceremony as “simple” out of respect for the deceased.

A pre-ceremony tea and the evening reception were both cancelled.

The victims

  • All of those killed were on the bride’s side of the family.

  • One of the victims was from B.C., four from Toronto, and one from California.